What Pre-Employment Checks Do I Need? | An Employer’s Guide

Pre-employment checks (also known as pre-employment screening, or simply ‘background checks’) plays a large part in the recruitment process for organisations around the world. The aim of these checks is to protect you from hiring staff who could cause legal, reputational, and/or financial damage.

This area is broad, with many checks to consider for various types of roles. Furthermore, each industry has its own employment laws and regulations, meaning a completely different set of background checks to run.

It can get confusing quite quickly, which can lead to costly non-compliance and poor hiring choices.

Our duty is to help employers with pre-employment checks. Here is our guide on how to choose the right screening checks for new employees.

The Essential Pre-Employment Checks

Right To Work – The Essential Pre-Employment Check

It is your legal obligation to perform a right to work check on new employees. You should perform this check, regardless of the candidate’s race, nationality, or ethnicity.

If you fail to perform this check, you could be subject to a maximum civil fine of £20,000 per individual and/or a criminal sanction of an unlimited fine or imprisonment of five years.

ID Verification

This should be an important part of your screening process. Alongside a right to work check, you want to ensure your candidate is who they say are.

Firstly, to verify an individual’s identity, you must ascertain they are the same person as in the documents provided. And secondly, you must check the validity of these documents.

Smaller businesses often rely on manual processes to verify an individual’s identity, which can be slow and prone to errors. For larger organisations, there is a need for technology to aid ID verification. There is software, provided by EBC Global, that can assist ID verification (and other pre-employment checks).

Employment History

Through references, the next step is to go through your candidate’s employment history. In short, this helps you confirm that the candidate has the experience stated on their CV and cover letter.

Your organisation should incorporate a process that assesses the information your candidate provides. This should include:

  • Company check. Is the company genuine? If so, is the referee real? Did the person work there for the time stated on their CV? D
  • Certificate/qualification check. Is the certificate supplied genuine? What process have we got in place to determine a certificate’s authenticity?
  • Are all employment gaps accounted for? Are there any gaps that are a cause for concern?

It is recommended you obtain a 3-year work history (minimum) from candidates. However, you should note this is not applicable to every industry (e.g., aviation requires a 5-year work history by law).

Criminal Record Check

It is recommended that you perform a basic criminal record check (also known as a DBS* basic check) on all candidates and employees. This not only safeguards your employees and business, but also your customers and clients.

More advanced criminal record checks, such as a DBS standard or DBS enhanced, are legal requirements in industries where staff are working with vulnerable people and/or children.

Considering the small cost of criminal record checks, it makes sense to run a DBS basic check at a minimum on all employees; as it will prevent any legal, financial, and reputational damage.

We discuss criminal record checks in more detail here.

For a list of job roles and they type of criminal record check require, click here.

*DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service

Pre-Employment Checks Based on the Role

The type of pre-employment checks you need to run depend on the role and the industry you operate in.

Entry-Level and Low-Level Roles

Alongside a right to work check, it is recommended you perform both a right to work check and DBS basic check. For most entry-level and low-level roles, this is considered sufficient for most organisations. However, other pre-employment checks may be necessary.

To ascertain the type of pre-employment checks to perform, you should assess:

  • The level of information/data accessible to the employee
  • Whether the employee will be working with the public
  • If the employee will be working with, or have access to, vulnerable adults or children (therefore, a DBS enhanced is required)
  • The financial data or assets accessible to the employee (a credit check can determine if they have any history of fraud, etc)

Mid-Level Roles

For managerial positions, pre-employment checks need to be more in depth. A full criminal record check (DBS standard or DBS enhanced) is recommended, alongside a credit check, a thorough investigation of their work history (3-5 years is recommended), and certificate/qualification checks.

In addition, you should look to obtain a 5-year address history, to aid DBS enhanced and credit checks internally.

These pre-employment checks are important for mid-level roles as the candidate will have an influence at your company and industry.

You should also consider a DVLA check, if the candidate will be driving on behalf of your organisation.

Senior and Management Roles

Senior roles will require you to run a full range of pre-employment checks. This should include:

  • Right to work (including ID verification)
  • A full criminal record check
  • Credit check
  • 5-year work history
  • Certificate/qualification verification
  • A sanctions search (also known as an adverse media check or sanctions check)
  • A DVLA Check (if they will be driving on your company’s behalf)

Pre-Employment Checks Based on Job Activities

One important aspect to consider with pre-employment checks is ensuring they are proportionate to the role.

For example, if you are hiring for a role where the employee will have no access to sensitive data, then checks such as a DBS enhanced or credit check may not be necessary. That said, a DBS basic check could still prevent a bad hire.

However, if you are hiring an accountant, a credit check would be necessary, so as to avoid hiring someone who might commit fraud, theft, etc.

Pre-Employment Checks Based on your Industry

The industry in which your business operates will have its own set of employment laws and regulations. As a result, certain pre-employment checks will be required by law.

For example, the education and healthcare sectors require all staff to have annual DBS enhanced checks.

Another example is the financial sector, where chartered accountants will require certain qualifications (ACCA, ACA, CIMA).

Further Assistance

If you are still uncertain with the types of pre-employment checks you need to perform, or you require software to help with your checks, EBC Global offer a solution to help.

Employment Check Pro is a secure, fast, and robust platform that offers instant employment checks. Its easy to use and has helped all our clients manage, certainly background checks, but also the application process.

Criminal Record Checks on Laptop

It is designed for all sectors, including aviation, education, healthcare, recruitment, and more.

Not only is it secure, but it is also fast and fully GDPR-compliant.

Pro adds value to both your organisation and to your candidate. Save time and reduce paperwork; all whilst maintaining compliance.

Learn more about Pro here or complete the contact form below to book a demo.


    Further Reading

    The Vetting Process – How to Run an Efficient Operation

    What is pre-employment screening? | The employer’s guide

    Background Checks – Ten key checks employers must make


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